I Earned This
Try this. Next time you are with a group of friends for a meal take a listen to the convo for any version of the following:
· I worked out today so I earned this second glass/serving.
· I didn’t eat all day because I knew we were coming here for dinner.
· Oh man, after this dessert, tomorrow I’m going to have to hit the gym hard.
Eating disorders aside, these seemly harmless comments have, for many of us, woven their way into our subconscious living. For some it might be a fleeting thought, for others, like me, it is a tightly held way of life.
At the age of thirty, with my history of food restriction and counting calories, I was very well aware that the key to weight loss meant fewer calories in, more calories out. As I was not willing to give up my nightly fun food and cocktails, I would have to adjust accordingly, for me that meant, restrict during the day and “save”my calories for the evening. So, I traded the warm chewy bagels and poppy seed scones I’d grab on my way to work for packets of oatmeal from home. Instead of lunches of tuna melts out with my coworkers, I brought in turkey wraps on low carb tortillas and baggies of carrots. By three o clock my stomach was growling, my energy was dipping and I would start watching the clock, tick, tick, tick, every so slowly, never allowing myself even an apple to curb the hunger. Nope, I was holding out for five o clock when I could head home to a chilled glass of chardonnay while waiting for Marc to walk in with boxes of mouthwatering sesame chicken and pot stickers.
Months earlier I had cancelled my membership to the gym as our new hood included a clubhouse with a small workout facility. I knew I had to get moving again to burn the extra calories I needed to "earn" my food, but by the time I got home from work, exercise was the farthest thing from my mind. The treadmill and planks or the deck and happy hour? Hmmm, tough choice. Please pass the guac. I had however noticed a group of my female coworkers walking every day at lunchtime, so one day I invited myself along (I know, just what every employee wants, the HR hag hanging around). It was fantastic and quickly became a routine, rain or shine. It felt good to get out from behind my desk and move my body in the fresh air, bonding with others as we chatted about husbands, blind dates from hell, and the latest workplace gossip (um, I mean they gossiped). And it burned those extra calories that would allow me to indulge in my nightly favorites.
After several months of mid-day hill hikes on an empty stomach, I began to see my work payoff. My body felt smaller, and my clothes felt looser, all while still consuming a couple of cocktails and, a decadent meal at night. See, I thought to myself, I can control this. But just when I was feeling pretty darn good about my plan, control as I knew it, was about to come to a screeching halt.